Google Developers Demo AMP Stories Integration with Gutenberg at Chrome Dev Summit

Alberto Medina and Weston Ruter gave a presentation on Progressive Content Management Systems yesterday at Chrome Dev Summit 2018 in San Francisco. Medina is a developer advocate at Google and Ruter recently transitioned into a new role as a Developer Programs Engineer after eight years at XWP.

Medina began the session with a quick overview of the increasingly complex CMS space, which is growing, according to figures he cited from w3techs: 54% of sites are built with some kind of CMS (11% YoY growth). Many CMS’s face common challenges when it comes to integrating modern web technologies into their platforms, such as large code bases, legacy code, and technical debt.

In addressing the challenges that WordPress faces, Google is looking to make an impact on a large swath of the web. Medina outlined the two-part approach Google is using with the WordPress ecosystem. This includes AMP integration via the AMP plugin for WordPress. It’s currently at version 1.0 RC2 and the stable version is scheduled for release at the end of this month.

The second part of the approach is integration of modern web capabilities and APIs in core, so that things like service workers and background sync are supported natively in a way that the entire ecosystem can take advantage of them. Google has invested resources to get these features added to core.

Ruter demonstrated a single page application built in WordPress using a standard theme as the basis and the AMP plugin as a foundation. Medina said the team plans to continue expanding this work integrating AMP content into WordPress, specifically in the context of Gutenberg. He gave a quick demo of how they are working to help content creators easily take advantage of features like AMP stories via a Gutenberg integration.

Medina said AMP stories are formed by components and work well with Gutenberg, since everything in the new editor corresponds to a block.

“We want powerful components like these to become available across all CMS’s,” Medina said. “The CMS space is moving steadily along the progressive web road.”

Check out the video below to learn more about Google’s experience integrating modern web capabilities and progressive technologies into the WordPress platform and ecosystem.

8 Comments


  1. So that’s why Google bought a few WP core devs… to sneak AMP into core. Good luck to Weston and Thierry in their new roles.

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    1. No sneaking. If/when AMP is proposed for core, it will be done openly. We first have to prove the value of the AMP plugin on its own.

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      1. Nowadays, it isn’t necessary to prove anything before including it in core. Just look at Gutenberg and the 2/5 star rating it has.

        It Matt wants something in the core, it’s going in the core.

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      2. Please face it, Google is (ab)using you and WordPress to push AMP in 30% of web. That’s it. It’s not about making WordPress better or something, it’s about marketshare. You personally surely care about WordPress, maybe even Medina does, but others at Google have different reasons.

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      3. Marten is right.

        AMP hasn’t seen any significant uptake in people using it for non-publishing sites because it just doesn’t fit the purpose. The whole point of AMP is that once a page is considered ‘AMP ready’, Google can then get a cache of the site and serve it straight from Google servers instead.

        It also means they can serve whatever ads they feel like. I’m all for new and exciting projects to be worked on that aren’t Gutenberg for a change, but AMP now…? It’s just constant bloating it seems with features nowadays that don’t serve a purpose for 80% of users on 30% of the web using WordPress.

        Also, Weston, it’s a little bit on the nose to say that…

        If/when AMP is proposed for core, it will be done openly. We first have to prove the value of the AMP

        Gutenberg did not have an open merge proposal which was originally confirmed by the team over and over. Excuse me if I find it hard to believe that AMP won’t go the same way. It’s incredibly frustrating to see the same people at the top get their own way in this so-called community and disregard the voices of others.

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  2. AMP – another place for Ads.

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  3. Elephants crush the terrain under their feet no matter how gently they intend to move.

    Whether AMP for websites is a good idea on its technical merits can be debated with good arguments on either side.

    For one, this debate about its inclusion into Core – if debate happens – is not going to be had on even terms. Simple fact. Those who are compelled by AMP and those that are placated/content with the evolving nature of the project will not be hearing about the alternative ways of accomplishing its more general goals from Google’s developers.

    If a debate is had about inclusion into WordPress, it will be similar to React in that enormous momentum in favour of its inclusion will have taken place in advance. There’s buy-in from Automattic, buy-in from instrumental core developers and buy-in from enterprise level agencies. It’s ridiculous to suggest there’s a real possibility AMP won’t make it into core.

    I just want to point out a bit of the pretense involved. There is no decision making involved that is particularly open to community input, the decision making power ultimately rests elsewhere, so there’s not going to be meaningful debate.

    When Weston says this is happening in the open, he’s right, but transparency is not the same as community driven. When the argument is made that AMP is evolving web standards and that it has developed into a more well rounded open source project, rather than the rather the ‘Google-made-something-everyone-else-is-going -to-use’ project it started off as. These are compelling arguments, mind you, but I think these arguments precisely exploit the ethos of OSS communities.

    (Before I continue on with an admittedly cynical perspective, I want to stress that Weston and Medina are upstanding, genuine people with an intense desire to make the web a better place. They are particularly brilliant minds and Weston in particular commands enormous respect from me)

    Google is an engineering company, filled to the brim with borderline geniuses who solve things with code while thinking at a large scale. That is their strength (while their weakness is dealing with people. For an example, see their earlier jargon-laden and unreadable attempts at making the technical case for AMP). Their bosses by necessity instruct them toward initiatives that boost the bottom line, this is just corporate reality. It is incredibly dangerous to think of AMP as an altruistic project for the betterment of the web, it’s also dangerous to treat it as a win-win situation in which both Google, users and CMSes are ordained to win out.

    Some red flags with this project should really be getting more attention. Google can make an efficient solution to a problem they see (and that problem of performance is real), with AMP the challenge then is to get the web to conform. That is the obstacle they need to overcome to get their solution to scale. A new kind of challenge for them, because they have to get buy-in.

    If we’re being brutally honest, does anyone believe that the large majority of Google devs have anything but contempt or indifference toward WordPress? Do you think they see a beautiful people powered project, or do they see mostly the wrinkles and the faults, a monstrosity of code? …Does that matter? Maybe not. Should we care? Probably not. And I dare say I do think Medina and others genuinely like what WordPress is doing and have its best intent at heart, so should that be enough? Maybe. I’m just more than a little bit cynical in the way they are engineering conformity from us.

    They approached WordPress with an enormous guilt trip to start with. It dipped into its vast collection of data and fashioned some charts showing just how badly WordPress sites are at performance. That scathing statement of responsibility has gone rather unchallenged as far as I can see. So it cast WordPress as the problem facing the web, actively hurting users, even threatening the existence of the web. AMP meanwhile gets cast as the knight in shining armour and it will have all the goodness of Open Source and web standards in mind. A message perfectly tailored for the conscientious WordPress user and open source evangelist.

    And this strategy has been really effective so far, just read the masterpiece of writing by the impressive Caspar Hübinger. It’s persuasive, compelling and powerful. It also neatly frames the web as having some kind of mortal disease for which there is no cure, bar from the experimental drug Google produced called AMP.

    I’m sorry but this comes across as pure manipulation to me.

    Manipulation is not something should be demonised, perse, this is after all how most things get done. But it’s showing us what it is like to have an entity use its disproportionally large influence on the web. If you want to properly compete in search engine results, there is enormous pressure on you to use AMP, because it gets you coverage you can’t otherwise get. (And no, there’s no point in saying this is just a temporary thing). So it’s shaping the web.

    AMP is being sold as a saviour to the web, which makes it an initiative that supposedly bolsters the health of the open independent web? I’m sorry, but have we already forgotten Google’s initiatives to set up their own walled garden (Google Plus), how they pulled the plug on Google Reader which drained readership all across the blogosphere, while buying up start up after start up…yet we’re going to rely on their wisdom and moral compass to shape the web?

    When WordPress adopts AMP, we are choosing for millions of sites. It is a decision that will echo far beyond WordPress, as it will instantly settle the score. Other CMSes will be forced to do the same. And we’ll all be getting our steer from the same engineers who don’t really understand people while getting their instructions from an entity that is obligated to grow its monopoly position.

    There are interesting things about the solutions being made in the AMP project that could benefit an independent web, but they are not the only solutions, nor are we fully considering the implications of taking on the whole package. We’re not even considering the alternatives, we’re being lured into a shortcut that in a blunt, indiscriminating way cuts down on some bloat. But if we’re interested in a more independent, open web, why is so little time spent considering wider solutions, like the IPFS, which is a 1000 times more exciting, solves many of the same problems and genuinely services an open and independent web while delivering performances gains?

    Even if you’re unreservedly gung-ho about AMP for the web, what if you’re not sure about AMP for email? Guess what, pushing against AMP for email will become just that bit more harder, because that’s how momentum and outsized influence works. Empty phrases featuring the word ‘democratisation’ need not apply. It’s just an elephant making the path it wanted.

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  4. I appreciate your sincerity; I do think you have the interest of the WordPress community at heart. I also believe corporations, including Google, should be scrutinized carefully and questioned properly at every step along the way. But we cannot forget that corporations are made by people. I can’t answer the questions you pose about Google as a whole, but I can argue about what drives me, my principles, and what I believe me and my team are striving for.

    Google may or may not be an evil corporation; but it is certainly supporting all the work we are doing to improve the web along many dimensions. We want to work with you and the whole WordPress community on advancing the web web in general, and WordPress in particular, along the progressive web road. Together we own this task; let’s address it, and let’s solve it.

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